Cost of living latest: Nurses call off strike after pay offer; cheapest supermarket revealed (2023)

Key points
  • Striking train drivers 'are in this for the long haul', union boss warns
  • Welsh nurses call off strike after pay offer
  • Fears petrol could hit 155p again soon
  • Cheapest supermarket revealed
  • Jason Farrell special report: 'I spent all my savings and now I can't retire'
  • Live reporting by Chris Lockyer


That's all for today

You can catch up on today's biggest cost of living stories below:


Whiskey workers go on strike in Fife

Staff at a whiskey plant in Fife have begun walkouts over a pay dispute, Unite union has said.

Its members will stop work at the Diageo site over shift changes, which they say ends in a 6% pay cut.

It mostly affects engineers, with Unite claiming it will not be safe to operate the plant without them.

The company says 10 workers are striking.

Unite general secretary Sharon Graham said: "Unite's engineering members at Diageo's Leven plant have had enough of pay cuts, especially as the company's profits are soaring.

"Diageo recorded £4.4 billion in profits - up nearly 20% - directly on the back of our members' hard work.

"Yet some of our members are now facing considerable pay cuts when inflation has hit a 45-year high. This is totally unacceptable and we will stand with our members in their fight against corporate greed at Diageo."

A spokesman for Diageo said: "We are proud of the pay and benefits packages we provide. We have a very small number of employees taking industrial action over weekend nightshift requirements.

"Our Leven site continues to operate safely and as normal, and we remain committed to seeking a resolution to this dispute.


Maintenance workers on Elizabeth Line to strike from this evening

Maintenance workers on London's Elizabeth Line will begin a 24-hour walkout from this evening, in a dispute over pay.

The Rail, Maritime and Transport union (RMT) said its members were being paid significantly less than similar positions across the network.

RMT general secretary Mick Lynch said: "It cannot be right that maintenance staff doing essential work keeping the Elizabeth Line running are being short-changed.

"The employer must make a decent offer on pay that reflects the vital work our members perform in order to avoid future strike action."


Londoner bemoans 'horrific' cost of pint in city

A journalist at The Sun has shared he paid more than £7 for a pint of lager in London Bridge - calling it "horrific".

The pint, which based on the glass appears to be from brewer Beavertown, cost Alex Matthews £7.15 at the Anchor, by the River Thames.

He joked he should have stolen the glass.


Sympathy for striking workers from those using the railway

By Milena Veselinovic, news correspondent

Euston is one of London's busiest stations, butthis Friday, only a handful of passengers walked through its ticket barriers.

Among them were Finlay Greig and Juliette deBanzie, who had just come off a sleeper train from the Highlands, but were unable to continue their journey to Kent because of the rail strike.

“We've literally come from the other side of the UK so stuck in London for a bit, but absolutely 100% support the strike action," Juliette said.

Shona Gibson, on a visit to London with her brother and friend, also had sympathy for the striking workers, despite having to rearrange plans and share a room with them for one additional night to save on extra costs.

"We've come down from Yorkshire to see some shows, we've booked quite far in advance to come today. So instead we've come down yesterday evening," she said.

"It's one of those things where we obviously support everybody on strike, and you just have to get on with it, I guess, try to make other arrangements.

"It was kind of a whirlwind in the last minute to rearrange things, we’ve had to book another hotel room, we have our own rooms for tonight, but we’ve had to share one last night, otherwise it would have been hundreds and hundreds of pounds."

Out on the picket line, Mike Whelan, head of the Aslef union, said workers haven’t had a raise in four years, and that they are prepared to carry on striking until they get a resolution.

"We go back into talks on Tuesday, we go in open-eyed," he told Sky News.

"My people don't want to be out here in the cold, they don't want to be losing money. They'd rather be doing their day jobs, so we want to get back to normal working."


Welsh nurses call off strike

Nurses in Wales with the Royal College of Nursing have called off planned strike action next week after a pay offer this afternoon.

Pat Cullen, the union's general secretary, said: "If the other governments can negotiate and find more money for this year, the prime minister can do the same.

"Rishi Sunak has no place left to hide. His unwillingness to help nursing is being exposed as a personal choice, not an economic necessity.

"Again, we are making good on our commitment to cancel strikes when ministers negotiate and make pay offers to our members.

"First in Scotland and now in Wales too.

"If the prime minister decides to leave England's nurses as the lowest paid in the UK, he must expect this strike to continue. He can still turn things around before Monday - start talking seriously, and the strikes are off."


Grassroots performance venues talk of 'perfect storm' during cost of living crisis

Grassroots music venues say the cost of living crisis is contributing to what they call a "perfect storm".

A report in NME says that financial struggles, as well as other factors such as Brexit and last-minute decisions by gig-goers means attendance is lower and venues face a fight for survival.

Speaking to the magazine,Reece Ritchie, an in-house promoter at Manchester's Night & Day, said: "The cost of living crisis has been huge for us.

"People are going to less shows, everyone has a lot less money and it's the creative outlets that suffer first.

"Night & Day is somewhere where people go to have a good time, but it's where you cross off your list when budgets are tight. Everyone's feeling the squeeze."

Guto Brychan, owner of Clwb Ifor Bach in Cardiff, added: "The challenge now is that for the level of artists who would play a venue like ours, the cost of touring, accommodation, petrol, food and such has made it more expensive to put the shows on.

"Now it’s aboutensuring that the artists are able to afford to come and play the venue while also ensuring that the ticket price doesn’t get to a point where it’s too expensive for the customer."


Empty railway stations as strikes shut down network

Below is the view from stations in London all but closed down due to strike action today.

Drivers with Aslef have walked out in an ongoing dispute over pay.


Why the problem of prepayment meters won't go away for vulnerable energy customers

One thing the energy industry agrees on in theory - if not, it turns out, in practice - is that forcing prepayment meters on vulnerable customers is unacceptable.

The widespread revulsion at British Gas debt collectors forcing entry to the homes of families is deserved and universal.

Less clear-cut is what to do about the underlying cause.

The industry calls it the "affordability crisis" but those facing the reality know it simply as poverty.

Read more of Paul Kelso's analysis below.


Planned strike by ambulance workers called off

A planned strike by GMB ambulance workers in Wales on Monday has been suspended.

The union said it had called off the walkout after receiving a pay offer from the Welsh government.

Nathan Holman, Welsh NHS lead at the GMB, said: "After intense negotiations, GMB has agreed to suspend strike action while further talks take place.

"We recognise that the Welsh government and Welsh Ambulance have made concessions and, through social partnership, we appreciate the frank and open dialogue with them over the last few months.

"This has only been made possible because the Welsh government has been prepared to talk about pay - a lesson for those in charge on the other side of the Severn Bridge.

"We are a member-led union, ultimately they will decide."

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